Although most of us have never experienced a pandemic, you have no doubt experienced hardship. And the reality is that while we may never live through another pandemic, we will no doubt experience pain, loss, disappointment, uncertainty and sickness again. And we all have a choice whether we will be victims of our circumstances or will have victory in spite of our circumstances.
Wayne W. Dyer said, “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” Right now there are so many things we cannot control. However, we are in control of our choices. We can choose to pursue peace vs. giving the chaos power over us.
Make choices about what you input
It is natural to be invested in the outside world at this moment. Watching and reading the news is a normal response to what is happening in our world right now.
It also feels like a natural choice to stay connected and engaged with social media. As we live in an abnormal amount of isolation, social media is one way we can connect with others.
While none of this is bad or innately harmful, what we input directly affects our output. Our thinking and emotions are greatly affected by what we read, listen to, and talk about. If we spend the majority of our time connected to the scary events in the world and the opinions/feelings of others, we are potentially robbing ourselves of some peace.
Consider how much time you spend hearing the facts, thoughts, opinions, complaints, and fears of others. Look inwardly and examine how this might be affecting your own feelings and thinking.
If we are intentional about the amount of noise and chatter we allow in, we move naturally towards creating space for peace.
Be in the present
It is easy in moments that feel out of control to worry, live in fear, and stress about the “what ifs”. There are looming unanswered questions about time-frames, finances, health, jobs, and schooling. No doubt the temptation to focus on the uncertainties and lean into worry is high in moments like these!
Make a choice to step off the roller coaster of “what ifs”. Instead, make a conscious decision to live in the present moment. Read a book, work in the yard, take a nap, paint a room, exercise, or clean out all the cabinets, junk drawers and closets that you usually ignore. Watch a movie, play a game, have a dance party, or cook something new. Be intentional in your relationships and enjoy the person in front of you.
And in doing whatever you choose to do, be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and senses. Choose to focus on the current moment and living it fully instead of allowing your mind to stay fixed on future unknowns.
Find the unexpected gifts
There is so much happening in our world and our individual lives right now that we cannot control. And while we are certainly feeling the negative effects of current happenings, we can often times find wrapped up in the struggle is surprising joy.
In the summer of 2017, my husband and I had just come home with our second adopted child, our fourth child overall. We moved shortly after bringing our son home. When Harvey came through, each member of our family was in the thick of transition, growing pains, and learning a new normal as a family.
Like everyone in our area, our life shut down as the hurricane came and went and the water remained. While we certainly dealt with feelings of sadness and fear in the aftermath of Harvey, we also realized how much those hours, days and weeks were a gift for us. We watched as every relationship in our house became stronger. We watched as our two littlest ones became confident in the security and consistency of family. We watched as we went from feeling like a disjointed group of six to a strong family unit. The devastation of Harvey was very real, but for us so was the unexpected beauty.
While we may not know what the silver-linings of this time are yet, they are often there. Noticing them involves making an effort to quiet our minds and look for them.
Pay attention to your spiritual, emotional, and mental health
For most of us, the hustle of life often feels like it never diminishes. In these moments of social distancing, working from home, and activities being canceled, we have the opportunity to take back time that is often not available to us. We have the opportunity to be intentional about things we care about, but that tend to get put on the back burner. For many of us, this means investing in spiritual growth, emotional well-being and our own mental health.
Take inventory of where you are in these areas and where you need healing, work, and development. Acknowledge that the current situation is hard. But also take the opportunity to care for the parts of yourself that you cannot see. I find that when I focus on my spiritual foundation, emotional health and mental well-being, peace is a natural outcome.
None of us knows where this journey will take us. So, as we continue to navigate uncharted waters in the days and weeks to come, let’s make an effort to pursue peace in the process.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Kristin or another counselor at AWCC, please contact us at 832-421-8714.